Staff Reporters
May 3, 2019

Alibaba creates a font of its own

CMO Chris Tung hopes official 'Alibaba Sans' typeface can unite the brand with partners and customers worldwide.

Alibaba creates a font of its own

In a bid to underscore the Alibaba brand with the millions of users, products and brands on its platform, the Chinese-based ecommerce giant this week created its very own font to be used internationally. 

In a recent blog post, Yang Guang, senior director of Alibaba New Retail Design was quoted explaining that the platform's global scale and rapid expansion made it “all the more important to have an official typeface that not only ensures branding consistency, but also helps people learn about Alibaba,”

“We would like to make this new typeface an inclusive resource for all our partners and customers across the globe, and for free,” added Alibaba Group chief marketing officer Chris Tung, in a release.

The new Alibaba Sans font can be used with 172 languages, including English and Chinese, of course, with two styles and 11 weights to customise the font for special events like 11.11. There are also plans to expand the font to more languages.  

The same Alizila blog post explained how Alibaba began creating Alibaba Sans last June by partnering with U.S. typeface company Monotype. The creators kept "a wide range of applications in mind, seeking to reflect all possible touch points in its vast ecosystem. The result was a font that is highly legible on small screens for the shoppers using its e-commerce apps, such as Taobao or Tmall, while remaining pleasing to the eye when stretched out across office buildings." 

“Alibaba Group faced a common but significant branding challenge in that it needed to convey its brand values across a wide range of environments, both physically and digitally,” Monotype’s Akira Kobayashi, the lead type designer for Alibaba Sans, was quoted as saying. 

The design process involved surveying Alibaba employees around the world to find nine keywords that characterized Alibaba and shaped the new font: dynamic, variable, young, passionate, bold, powerful, future, innovation and technology.

China's other Internet giant, Tencent, also tapped Monotype in December 2017 when it also released a new typeface and logo. 

Anyone can download and install the English and Chinese font families for free from this link

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